Morning Time Art Appreciation with Young Children: Vincent Van Gogh

During our ‘Morning Time’ we have been reading the Katie series of books about Vincent Van Gogh by James Mayhew. These wonderful ‘living books are a great way of introducing art appreciation to young children. Before the sun is even up you will find us sat around the dining table reading Katie and the starry night or Katy and the sunflowers over cups of tea and plates of toast and jam. Sometimes that is where our art appreciation ends but on other occasions a question has lead us to delve a little deeper into the life of Vincent, the period of post-impressionism or the art mediums and techniques used to create such beautiful paintings.

Some of our favourite resources include a children’s encyclopedia of art, the Usbourne Art Treasury and online virtual tours of galleries and museums.

None of this takes place all in one morning time. Instead we might spend a few minutes looking up ‘V’ in the index for Van Gogh, finding the correct page number and reading a little more on the subject before heading off towards the art trolley, inspired or to do something entirely unrelated. On another occasion we might continue our art appreciation by touring Van Gogh’s work through the 360 STORIES virtual tour of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, looking out for a specific piece of art or we might watch a pre-recorded tour with beautiful music and call out when we recognise a painting.

The other morning we decided to ask google what art materials Van Gogh used, we discovered that a lot of his paintings were done on canvas with oil paints and we decided that this is something we might like to try.

From one book about one artist and his work stems so much curiosity, enjoyment and learning. Through sharing art with children we are introducing them (and ourselves) to rich vocabulary, colour and composition, history, culture, research skills, music, creative pursuits and beauty.

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